Behind the Scenes of 911 Quality Assurance

Réka Sarudi August 14, 2023

Unveiling the hidden potential of Automated Quality Management technologies


In an emergency, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) serve as the first line of defense. They connect citizens to the appropriate emergency services. 911 Quality Assurance is vital for ensuring the accuracy and highest standard of call-handling, even in times of distress.

At the same time, many response centers are under increased pressure due to high employee turnover, budgetary constraints, and a growing number of communication channels they have to manage. Casey Rives, Solutions Consultant for Public Safety at Verint, has over ten years of experience as a public safety communicator and call taker trainer. I asked her about how 911 response centers can efficiently manage quality while dealing with everyday challenges.

Get our expert’s view on how automated quality management technologies can help PSAPs:

  • boost efficiency
  • fight the staffing crisis
  • reduce liability

Reka Sarudi (R.S.): What does quality assurance typically look like in a PSAP and who’s responsible for it? Is it mandatory for all 911 centers to have quality standards in place?

Casey Rives (C.R.): Who does Quality Assurance, or Quality Management, has changed over the last few years.

A larger center typically would have a designated quality manager or quality assurance personnel. But, with the staffing crisis in recent years, even the biggest PSAPs are struggling with having positions solely focusing on quality assurance.

So, that’s why automated quality management (AQM) is becoming more and more important.

NENA (National Emergency Number Association) and APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) only started implementing quality assurance standards around 2015. These are still recommendations rather than completely mandatory expectations. However, every center has protocols, and they monitor and score a certain number of interactions. This varies by center.

For instance, I worked in a large center and each supervisor had to review three to five calls of each employee per month, which isn’t a lot—but this is what our bandwidth and our traditional, manual call sampling techniques allowed us to complete accurately at that time.

R.S.: Can PSAPs increase the volume of interactions reviewed without increasing the number of staff?

C.R.: Definitely. AQM technologies have been available for a while to help you evaluate a larger variety and number of calls—and score up to 100% of the interactions handled by your PSAP. But coaching employees and monitoring their performance is equally as important as reviewing all of your calls. By reinforcing coaching, you’re promoting compliance and consistency within your agency, reducing liability—which is paramount in public safety.

R.S.: Besides the sheer volume of interactions evaluated, can automation change other aspects of public safety quality assurance?

C.R.: By implementing automated quality management technologies, PSAPs can have more objective, consistent performance reviews. Although call sampling should be random at all times, in practice agencies tend to focus on calls where something happened. For instance, the call taker entered the wrong location and then the fire or police dispatcher had to change it, thus delaying the service.

I believe that a great quality management program should not only highlight the poor calls but reinforce positive interactions to let call-takers and dispatchers know that they’re doing a great job—especially with the morale and pressure existing at current centers.

Furthermore, automation can help you to pick a good variety of calls to review. Let’s see an example.

By setting the parameters, instead of reviewing for example five medical calls, you can select a pre-defined mixture of medical, police and fire calls to evaluate.

R.S.: What happens when a supervisor spots a quality issue?

C.R.: Usually they would invite the staff member to a one-on-one discussion to go over the call and discuss it. Depending on the severity of the error, they can assign individual training. But no one likes to be pulled into a room to be told what they’ve done wrong.

What I like in modern quality management tools, including Verint® Automated Quality Management™ for Public Safety, is that before scheduling a discussion, you can send that feedback to the employee directly through the solution itself, so it doesn’t seem as reprimanding.

This way the employee can prepare for the feedback session. They have time to review and listen to the call and be proactive in the coaching process.

R.S.: Do you think that a PSAP’s quality program can affect employee engagement?

C.R.: Absolutely, and I recommend highlighting the positive calls as well. Another benefit of using AQM is that you can see the overall performance of an employee instead of focusing on a random interaction.

Sometimes a person had four great calls and one that did not go as well as expected. Without reviewing all of their interactions, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to tell this.

Providing praise along with constructive feedback can increase employee engagement, which can also help with some of the staffing crisis the public safety sector is currently seeing.

R.S.: What would you recommend to a PSAP that is considering implementing automated quality management?

C.R.: Look at it as a long-term investment that can help enhance call-handling, reduce liability, allocate staff more effectively, and increase employee satisfaction. I know that any change in a response center can be challenging, but implanting AQM doesn’t have to happen overnight.

You can introduce AQM gradually, starting off with simple automated scoring rules such as checking if the call taker captured the caller’s location correctly. In the next step, you can finetune these rules and introduce new ones. And last but not least, keep in mind the benefits of consistent quality assurance.

AQM helps you measure the training that you’ve provided to your call takers and dispatchers, which is quite instrumental in light of high turnover rates. By monitoring the performance of new call takers and senior staff members, you can also reduce liability, mitigating the risk of overseeing a call taker continually making a mistake that delays response, or worse: causes life or death type of situations.

R.S.: How does Verint help 911 response centers address their quality assurance challenges?

C.R.: Verint Automated Quality Management is a powerful tool to monitor and autoscore up to 100% of your interactions across all communication channels, including phone calls, radio communications, text-to-911 and more. What I particularly like about our product is that, as I mentioned before, you can email your feedback directly to the employee.

You can also create shared inboxes, sharing the workflow with other supervisors depending on how your center is organized. Another benefit of the solution: it’s easily customizable and it offers flexibility. You’re not set to a specific form—you can set up your own rules depending on the standard operating procedures your center has.


To learn more about Verint Automated Quality Management for Public Safety, visit  and schedule a demo with Casey by filling in the form at the bottom of the page. To discover other technological advancements that can help you enhance your emergency call handling, read The Future of Emergency Response ebook.